BMRCL must hasten to retain land for metro station near Cant

BMRCL must hasten to retain land for metro station near Cant

Bengaluru, DHNS: The idea to build a metro stopover near the Cantonment railway station is in jeopardy as the land earmarked to BMRCL for the purpose is in the danger of being taken away.

Barring quick action from the metro rail authority to retain the land, it could be repurposed for the station redevelopment project.

Southwestern Railway sources said the Bengaluru division has written to the headquarters nearly two months back to include the 0.33 acres allocated for the metro station to the redevelopment project.

"Since the BMRCL made it clear that they do not want the piece of land, railway officials proposed adding about 1500 square metre to the four acres offered to bidders of the redevelopment project," the source explained.

BMRCL initially sought four acres of land, out of which they wanted to acquire one acre on a permanent license. After several rounds of letter communication, the area was brought down to 1400 square metre, the source said.

In April, the railways invited bids to develop the Cantonment station under the station redevelopment programme. Successful bidders are assured of commercial rights over a portion of the railway land for developing the station.

Officials offered 2.25 acres for commercial development at Cantonment station, but the lukewarm response prompted them to raise the land for the project to four acres. However, they left the plot allotted to BMRCL at the parking lot opposite the station untouched until the metro rail authority virtually gave it up.

"There was a proposal from Bengaluru Division to increase the land offering to 4.4 acres by including the land given to BMRCL. However, we have decided to keep it on hold," SWR Chief Public Relations Officer E Vijaya said.

She said the railways would cooperate with BMRCL to bring up the metro station in the vicinity. Land availability will not arise since the proposed project is going to be underground, she added.

 , The last day for bidding has been postponed for the fifth time from October 30 to November 30. Plans are on to bring changes to the rules to make the project attractive.

A railway source said the BMRCL must move faster if they need the land. "Station development is an ambitious project," he explained.

"There is pressure to make it work. Discussions are on to increase the lease period of the commercial land. Once the deal is inked, it would be harder for BMRCL to get land."

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